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11.2.11

The Great Divide - Day 8

A petticoat and a corset - two things that will completely change everything.

I found this poem by O'Neill that I wanted to share:

Warm lips against which mine have kissed and sighed
Grey, gold-flecked eyes which fear to see the goal,
Cold pulse?  I hear the breathing of your soul.
A passionate sob of heart unsatisfied.
Awake, O sleeping Princess!  Side by side
Onward with me to win the highest dream!
On where the watch fires of the Future gleam
Where life is real
beyond The Great Divide!

(Eugene O’Neill, “Beyond the Great Divide” 1915)

My favorite line - "Cold pulse? I hear the breathing of your soul." .. perhaps this poem is about death and the afterlife, but I am going to bend its meaning for my own purpose to the circumstances of this play. I think even though Ruth is cold towards Ghent, there is something in her soul that he senses.. else, why would he fight so hard for her love? 

When telling friends about this play, I say, "It's a love story, albeit, an untraditional one." .. I believe that. I am in the process now of tracking that love.. and how present it is for Ruth in any given moment. When is the first moment of realization? How does my love manifest itself in each scene? It's a tricky balance.

On my mind:

Pride: Polly says of me, "You know when it comes to pride, Ruth would make Lucifer look like a charity-boy asking for more soup." Pride is a sin. And for a woman who tries so hard to be good, to be so guilty of this one thing is interesting. It is her tragic flaw. On Lucifer:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.         Isaiah 14:12-15

Can we talk for a minute about how Ghent and I have literally risen high above - we live on top of a mountain. And we make our living from a hole far down in the ground that belches "its stream of gold." Never thought I would be quoting the Bible, but when you're playing a very religious woman, there's a lot to be learned.

Philip and Ruth: This relationship is very emotional for me, this week. When they are reunited in Act II and Ruth says to him, "This is the finding of the prodigal, and she expects a robe and a ring," it is heartbreaking to me. I knew the story of the Prodigal son, but I looked up the exact wording to see if it would inform the moment at all. Upon returning to his father, the younger son says:
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.
I feel that, in her own way, this is exactly what she is saying to Philip. He cannot understand why she has hidden herself away and not contacted anyone, but she feels so much shame and guilt that she no longer feels worthy of him. However masked and playful she is upon greeting him, the defenses eventually slip away and there is one truthful moment of repentance in, "I'm sorry."

Time to learn lines. More soon.





Tomorrow's Play: Doubt by John Patrick Shanley

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